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7/3/09

Miami Herald/ Huffington Post Paint False Picture Of Honduras Media Censorship

Honduras new government is censoring journalists

Miami Herald- "Her on-air appeal for freedom of the press came as the newly installed Honduran government kept several news outlets closed, detained international reporters, and periodically interrupted the signal of CNN en espaƱol.

Reporters for The Associated Press were taken away in military vehicles and Venezuela's Telesur network -- and any other station supportive of toppled president Manuel Zelaya -- are still off the air.

Stations that are broadcasting carry only news friendly to the new government. Several local papers have yet to publish information about Zelaya's international support in neighboring countries."


At the bottom of the article, the Herald gave us a clue of what is really going on:

"A 2008 report by the Open Society Institute said government payments to the press were widespread. A report by the InterAmerican Dialogue think tank in Washington said the Honduran media operate as arms of political parties.

''One of the largest threats to Honduran democracy is the lack of independence of the Honduran media,'' according to the paper written by Manuel Orozco and Rebecca Rouse. ``The media have failed to fulfill their social function as government watchdogs, are controlled by business and political interests and do not practice fair reporting practices.''


Back in 2008, when Dear Leader Zelaya was president of Honduras, it was widely reported that the media was completely controlled by business and political interests. (Reminds me a lot of America actually...)

What changed from then till now? Well, Zelaya's political interests got defeated, that's what!

The media is actually a little more free. As a matter of fact.

The liberal media complains about interrupted signals and briefly detained AP reporters. But take a look at what happened to the media under President For Life Zelaya back in 2007:

Upside Down World- "As Carlos Salgado walked out of the Radio Cadena Voces station in Tegucigalpa around 4 p.m. on Oct. 18, two gunmen fired seven shots at him and killed him instantly. The murder of the 67-year-old creator of the popular satirical program “Frijol, El Terible” is being seen across Honduras as the latest example of brutal repression of journalists by the administration of president Manuel Zelaya Rosales.

Two weeks after Salgado’s murder, the head of Radio Cadena Voces, Dagoberto Rodriguez, fled to the U.S. with his family after being informed by police of a tip that he would be assassinated within 72 hours. Police reportedly said his would-be assassins were not connected to the killers of Salgado. Though the department obviously has inside knowledge of the planned murder, there have been no arrests made...

Rodriguez said he had been followed by a car with mirrors continuously in recent weeks, and other journalists at Radio Cadena Voces have also reported receiving death threats and harassment from people they believe to be linked to the government...

The station’s website was also hacked and sabotaged; at one point the content was replaced with pornography."

Meanwhile on Sept. 7, Channel 13 TV reporter Geovanny Garcia was shot during broad daylight... Garcia, who left the country after the attack, had reported on official corruption related to street paving and repair contracts.

Also in September, Martin Ramirez, a reporter for La Tribuna newspaper, received multiple threats after running a story on maras (gangs) and their ties to police. The threats intensified after police publicly identified Ramirez."

In the last five years, including two years under Zelaya and three years under former president Ricardo Maduro, more than 20 journalists have been charged with this infraction. Defamation is a criminal offense in Honduras (unlike the U.S., where it is civil); carrying a possible jail term. Journalists who “offend the president of the Republic” can be sentenced to 12 years in prison, according to the Constitution...

A 1999 report from the Committee to Protect Journalists noted that the country’s few independent journalists regularly had their phones tapped, faced ridicule in the establishment press and suffered threats and intimidation. That year Rossana Guevara, who is currently one of the defendants charged with defamation by Hondutel, was harassed and had her dog poisoned after reporting on government corruption. Another TV reporter suffered an attempted kidnapping after reporting on a possible coup.

But journalists say the current situation under Zelaya – who ironically was heralded by many as a member of the “new Latin American left” leadership club and an anti-corruption reformer when he was elected – is worse than ever."


Truth is, the media freedom in Honduras is better now the Zelaya is gone. But don't expect Miami Herald or Huffington Post to admit it!

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